Part 2: Life in the shadow of Boko Haram

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The Nigerian military claims it has weakened Boko Haram militants. The humanitarian crisis as a result of the insurgency is far from over. More than 2 million people are displaced and many lack the very basics for survival.

On the next in an exclusive set of reports out of Maiduguri, Katerina Vittozzi met one man, who is doing what he can to help.

Local baker dedicates himself to helping out the displaced

Lawal Dan Gashua- baker

In the heartland of Boko Haram, a local bakery has become a place of refuge. Lawal Dan Gashua’s a baker in the state capital, Maiduguri.

For the past 3 years he has tried to help those who fled to the city after Islamist insurgents attacked their villages.

At first, it was other bakers and their families that would come for help but others soon followed dozens of men, women and children.

With limited resources, Gashua provides what he can- a roof over their heads, bread in return for their work and small amounts of money when he can afford it.

Living conditions are bleak. 14 boys sleep in small shack. They beg on the streets to earn money for the basics.  Their only lessons are from a local teacher who volunteers a few hours every day.

15 year old Ussaini

15 year old Ussaini has lived at Gashua’s bakery  for 2 years. His family fled their village because of Boko Haram attacks.

His parents felt he would be safer living at the bakery than with them either on the streets or in a camp.

“It’s very good here – the baker helps us where he can. I would prefer to be in school but they are closed because of security. So I just keep myself busy here in the bakery and wait for classes to start.”~Ussaini

There are now more than 2 million people who have been forced from the homes and communities because of the ongoing violence in north-eastern Nigeria.

The vast majority of that number aren’t staying in camps which are supported by the government and local agencies but are rather being hosted in places like the bakery. They are staying with family, friends or simply relying on the kindness of strangers.

The government says it IS winning the war against Boko Haram. Though People  don’t feel so confident. For now, they don’t feel safe enough to go home.

 

 

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